Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.
Conference: Big Sky
Coach: Wayne Tinkle
Record: 25-6, 19-1
Rankings and Ratings:
– Kenpom: 146
– RPI: 88
– AP/USA Today: N/A
Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Montana as a No. 15 seed in Saturday’s bracket projection.
Names you need to know: Will Cherry (13.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.2 apg), Kareem Jamar (14.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.1 apg)
Stats you need to know: Montana has lost three games with Will Cherry in the lineup. One of them was in double-overtime against South Dakota State in Cherry’s first game back from a broken foot. He played 13 minutes. The other was in overtime at Davidson in a game where Cherry missed the last five minutes in regulation after aggravating the injury.
Tendencies: With Mathias Ward out with a foot injury, the Grizzlies have become a team heavily reliant on their back court duo of Cherry and Jamar, who are both talented playmakers and scorers.
Big wins, bad losses: Montana’s best wins this season were both against Weber State, but the Grizzlies didn’t have any terrible losses.
How’d they get here?: After winning the Big Sky regular season title, the Grizzlies knocked off Weber State in the tournament title game to earn the automatic bid.
Outlook: Montana is a really good basketball team that, if healthy, may have had the horses to make a run at an upset in the opening round. But without Ward — their leading scorer — Montana has to rely heavily on Jamar and Cherry. But Ward’s injury isn’t the only one that Montana has dealt with this season, as Cherry broke his foot in the preseason. Five of Montana’s six losses can be tied directly to that injury, and those losses are part of the reason that the Grizzlies may end up as a lower seed that they would like. Montana might be able to pick off a four or a five seed; I’m not sure they can beat a two or a three seed this season.
How do I know you?: The Grizzlies went dancing last season, and you may have seen their head coach hosting late-night TV.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.